In a major development that took place yesterday, Delhi government granted a contract for 1.5 lakh CCTV cameras to a firm, whose parent company is based out of China, has the potential of putting national security at risk. Apparently, a firm under the scanner is Prama Hikvision India Private Limited, a joint venture and a subsidiary of Hikvision, which has been barred by the United States government from selling to federal agencies.
As per the minutes of Niti Aayog meeting which has categorically warned against the firm that has China links. There are concerns about illegal hacking and leaking of data to the Chinese government.
When asked, Prama Hikvision’s MD and CEO Ashish Dhakan did not deny that 58 percent of the shares in the company were owned by entities linked to China. Dhakan asserted that its products are manufactured locally. The CEO further claimed that there was no question of surveillance data getting leaked as the company had acquired all necessary Indian security certificates.
Over the years, security concerns have been raised over the Chinese government using backdoors in electronics products manufactured there to remotely access the data.
The US Air Force had canceled a tender for Hikvision video surveillance system while the US Homeland Security issued an advisory saying that their products are ‘remotely exploitable’. The United States might also put the firm on its Entity List which means that no US firm can sell to Hikvision.
Recently, CM Arvind Kejriwal had claimed that a Delhi school became the first in the world where parents could access live CCTV feeds of their child studying in the class adding that cameras will be installed inside classrooms in all the city government schools by November this year. However, parents are divided on Delhi’s government's latest move to secure the classrooms.
Earlier, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia had said that three lakh CCTV cameras will be installed across the national capital in 50 days. He further said that the decision to install cameras was taken as a crime in the national capital was increasing day by day.